Vietnamese Lime Soda with Strawberries

This refreshing lime soda with strawberries is a perfect summer drink featuring fresh strawberries, lime juice, brown sugar or maple syrup, and an unexpected pinch of black pepper. It’s from food writer and photographer Uyen Luu’s latest book, Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home

Lime Soda with Strawberries

In the recipe’s introduction Luu remembers her first taste of this soda during a childhood birthday in Saigon. Read our full review of Vietnamese Vegetarian by Uyen Luu.

Lime Soda with Strawberries
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Lime Soda with Strawberries (soda dâu)

Sài Gòn, 1980, I was a little girl and it was my birthday. The monsoon rains hit hard on the tin roof and the humidity grew a mist on our faces. My grandmother gave me my first taste of sweet, tart strawberries in the form of xi rô (syrup), somehow imported in such a tight embargo. Although Vietnam is now rich with both tropical and nontropical vegetation, when I was born there, there was a widespread scarcity of food due to war and famine. Nowadays, the country thrives, bursting with refreshing lime sodas, fresh young coconut water, pressed sugarcane juice and milky iced coffees to quench the thirsty and soothe the sultry heat, as we sit under a ceiling fan or crouched in the shade of a papaya tree.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Uyen Luu


  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 8 strawberries, sliced
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • ice cubes
  • 800 ml (28 fl oz / 3½ cups) sparkling water
  • ½ lime, sliced into 4 wheels


  • Crush the lime juice and sugar together with a pestle and mortar. Divide this sugar paste into glasses, then crush the strawberries in the mortar and add these. Add the pepper, ice cubes and sparkling water. Serve immediately with lime wheels perched on the rim and stirrers and/or straws.

Quick and simple to make, this soda is sweet but not too sweet and perfect for when you want something non-alcoholic yet still grown up and delicious.

Lime Soda with Strawberries


You can find more Vietnamese recipes here.

Recipe from Vietnamese Vegetarian by Uyen Luu published with permission from Hardie Grant. Book photography by Uyen Luu. Home-cooking photography by Ruthy Jenkins.

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